My Dance with Perfectionism

This isn’t about the photographs, is it? It’s about my fear of judgement. This is just me getting into that comfortable old slow dance with perfectionism again.

 

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So I’m heading back for my second photography class tonight where we have to share two photographs we’ve taken this week. As soon as our instructor announced that we were to bring two fall-themed photographs to the next class, I started to panic. Because if everyone was going to see them, they’d have to be perfect.

Even if this was a beginner’s class!

I’ve been blogging – and posting photographs on my blog – for years. I post on Instagram daily. Sharing two photographs should be no big deal. But this assignment was different! These photographs would be projected onto the wall for everyone in the class to see. And my inner critic kicked into overdrive.

The colours in this photo are too washed out.

The composition in this one is dull.

Pumpkins? You’re kidding, right? What a cliche!

My critic’s underlying message? Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough. 

You have no idea how many photographs I’ve taken – and ruled out – in the last week.

As with any life lesson I have to keep relearning, it took me a while to recognize what was going on. “Oh. This isn’t about the photographs, is it? It’s about my fear of judgement. This is just me getting into that comfortable old slow dance with perfectionism again.”

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown reminds us that in order to let go of perfectionism, we need to cultivate self-compassion. It’s not that easy for me. But for the last couple of days, I’ve been gentler with myself.

You’re just learning, darling. You’re a beginner. Nobody expects National Geographic quality. And look how much you’ve learned, just in this week. 

On my way home yesterday, I drove past the marina near my house and was captivated by the saturated colours of the boathouses in the warm evening light. Even as I was taking the picture, I could hear the critic’s voice in my head.  “This does not qualify as a fall picture.”

I think I might use it anyway. It’s good enough.

 

Author: Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.

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